Sometimes, I am starving and I wanna eat something, like right now.
Actually, that’s most days.
Yup, I love food.
So, the problem lies in making the right choices when you’re hungry. The answer, on the other hand, is being prepared with easy-to-grab, nutritionally dense food that you can take with you wherever you go.
I have seen pictures of these “salad-in’jars” all over the internet (I guess it’s a take on the “breakfast-in-a-jar” thing). I think it’s a wonderful option when you are starving, don’t have time to eat now and are running out the door (and you know if you don’t grab something to take with you, you will end up in some drive-thru line, feeling guilty afterwards for your choice in lunch options).
Make a few of these (this is just one variation, but the choices are limitless) and keep them in the fridge. We eat them as a hearty snack when you know the next meal won’t be for a while, and if you don’t have something to fill your tummy, you will be grazing on cookies and chocolate for the next 2 hours.
After testing a few jars, the list below is an optimum way to layer your ingredients to get the longest “fridge-life” out of it:
Ingredients for ANY salad-in-a-jar (layered in this order):
dressing (your choice)
hard veggies, diced (like carrots, onion, celery, cucumbers, peppers, corn, peas)…they are closest to the dressing so they have to stand up to this and not get soggy
protein (next heartiest layer – like diced chicken/ham, legumes like chick peas/black beans, diced bacon, diced hard cheese, nuts)
Less hearty veggies (broccoli, tomatoes, avocado, strawberries, mandarin oranges, olives)
Softer proteins and carbs (soft cheese like feta/goat, noodles, grains,rice)
Greens (slivered romaine, spinach, mixed greens, sprouts, arugula)
Ingredients for this Greek variation (amounts will depend on how many you make):
Greek vinaigrette (recipe follows) or use this balsamic vinaigrette
Diced red onion
nicoise olives, chopped (these are the best because they have a salty edge, but you can sub in sliced black olives)
Cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
Chopped feta cheese
black beans, rinsed
tzatziki (optional but yummy)
lemon tahini dressing (again, optional but yummy)
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
3-5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
a good pinch of dried oregano
1. Make the dressing (just combine all the ingredients in a jar and shake) and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Make sure you have mason jars clean and ready to use (if you don’t have mason jars, you can use any glass container with a lid – or even yogurt containers, but I find when they aren’t see-thru, you forget what’s in them!)
3. Put about 3 tbsp dressing in the bottom of each jar.
4. Place about 3 tbsp chopped cucumbers next.
4. Next, layer about 2 tbsp diced red onion (I love red onions so use less if you don’t love them as much as me!) and about 2-3 tbsp chopped olives.
5. Next, place a handful of cut up tomatoes.
6. Not very Greek, but very healthy, add about 4 tbsp cooked quinoa.
7. Next, sprinkle some diced feta on top (I love cheese, so I use lots!)
8. Next add about 1/4 c black beans (you can add diced chicken if you would rather have that as your protein)
9. Now, add a dollop of tzatziki (if you are using it)
10. Now push a handful of greens into the jar (and push down because this is the layer that will keep the rest of the ingredients in place if the jar tips over).
11. If you are done, close the lid and place in the refrigerator. If you are using the tahini, drizzle a bit on top of the greens and close it up!
Note: You can also you this tip to keep the top layer fresh!
A bunch of yumminess in a jar…hopefully, in lots of jars!!
Lasts 3-4 days refrigerated.
If you’ll excuse me now, I have to go make another batch!!